Archive for the ‘Ice Dam Removal’ Category

Common Ice Dam Locations on a Home

Friday, May 20th, 2016

Where Do Ice Dams Normally Happen on Homes? A List of the Most Common Ice Dam Locations

Case Study 3

Where ice dams happen…and don’t happen:

  1. Ice dams seldom occur over unheated areas such as garages and porches (A).
  2. The valley areas of dormers frequently get ice dams (B).
  3. Ice dams often occur both below and above skylights. Ice dams above skylights are hard to see from the ground, making them some of the sneakiest to discover (C).
  4. Any openings through the roof – such as pipes and vents – are a good place for small ice dams for form (D).
  5. Valleys are very common areas for ice dam formation. It is important to never use hammers or chisels near valleys as the difference between a thorough ice removal job and valley damage is fractions of an inch (E).
  6. On roofs with a low pitch (angle) even a 1-2″ ice dam can cause significant leaking and interior damage (F).
  7. The eaves edge is the most common place to see ice dams. 80% of the dams we remove are found here (G).
  8. Interior rooms with vaulted ceilings are frequently associated with large ice dams. Bathrooms are often the worst. If you had recessed lighting to a vaulted ceiling, you are much more likely to have ice dams (H).
  9. Ice dams occasionally form around chimneys and furnace flues. Any place heat escapes through the roof line. Ice dams in these locations can be very, very small and still cause leaking (I).


To read more Case Studies click here.

6 Ice Dam Warning Signs

Monday, April 25th, 2016

How to Know if You Have an Ice Dam Problem or Just Some Pretty Icicles

Case Study 2

Here are six things you can look out for when determining how severe your roof ice dam issues may be:

  1. Icicles forming on the edge of your roof (with or without gutters).
  2. Ice begins to build on top of the gutter or lower edge of roof. Remember: Ice dams as little as 1″ thick can cause big problems on certain roods. Don’t be fooled by small ice dams.
  3. Icicles forming behind the gutter, or worse, behind the facia.
  4. Ice begins coming through the soffits, normally through vents or through seams in the soffit. This is bad news. Next stop, your ceilings.
  5. Ice or water shows up on the siding or exterior wall surface. Ice can appear in the anywhere along the wall, even randomly in the middle.
  6. Ice or water shows up inside your home or around the window frame (interior or exterior). This is really bad news.

Call The Ice Dam Company at 952.935.9469 for help with your ice dams today.

To read more Case Studies click here.

Do I Have an Ice Dam Problem?

Tuesday, March 29th, 2016

Roof Leaks Caused by Ice Dams on Roof and in Gutters

Case Study 1

Ice Dam Company’s Steaming Process Highlighted in The Cleaner Times

Tuesday, December 8th, 2015

The Cleaner Times, a trade magazine for power washing and steaming professionals wrote a feature article about the Ice Dam Company and our commitment to the best way to remove ice dams: Steaming. You can read the full article here:

Cleaner Times: Ice Dam Removal

Or download a PDF here:

Cleaner Times: Ice Dam Removal (PDF)

National Association of Realtors and The Ice Dam Company

Tuesday, September 29th, 2015

I was recently interviewed by Realtor Magazine for a piece about preparing home buyers for severe weather –including Ice Dams, why ice dams happen and ice dam prevention methods.

You can read the full Article at Realtor Magazine Here:
Help Clients Prepare for Weather Challenges

The piece also discusses other weather related problems and disasters that can happen from strong winter weather. Check it out. I am frequently interviewed from media and professional sources from all around the country on the topic of ice dams because I started The Ice Dam Company so long ago. We are in fact the largest and the oldest ice dam prevention and ice dam removal company in the country. Before the Ice Dam Company, no other company existed that specialized in this area of business. Now, of course, the web is littered with ‘experts’ and ‘specialists’ purporting to be leaders.

-Steve Kuhl

How Long Should Ice Dam Removal Take?

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2015

We are often asked “How long will it take to remove my ice dams?”. While it may surprise you to hear this, after having removed thousands of ice dams, we still can’t give a definitive answer. Sure, most projects typically take somewhere between 2-6 hours, but that’s a big range. We ask that people send photos of their ice dams so that we can see what is happening. This helps us estimate costs to some degree. Specifically, these photos tell us approximately how long the ice dams are along an eave area. That is great. It’s also important to see what the site conditions are like. Is the job 8 feet or 28 feet off the ground? Will the chunks of ice we are removing fall harmlessly to the ground or is the ice dam located about a glass solarium that will need extensive protection? But even when we are armed with good photos there are still a number of variables that factor into the cost of removing an ice dam, the most important of which is what we call ‘depth’. The depth of an ice dam is the distance it travels up the roof. Study the diagram below. Notice call-out (A). This distance is in fact the most important factor in determining how long it takes to remove an ice dam (aside from it’s length, of course). Slicing through a 12″ thick ice dam is no big deal if it’s only 12″ deep. If it’s 24″ deep, that’s a totally different story.

The depth, or how far up the roof the ice has grown, is in fact the thing that drives the project time frame more than the thickness. The challenge is that if the ice dam is covered with snow, we can’t see how far up the roof the ice has grown. Only after we shovel the snow back can we get an accurate gauge as to how long the project will take.

Other variables that affect the duration of an ice dam removal job include: Height of work, site access and outdoor temperatures. Most people don’t know this but ice gets significantly harder to cut when it’s really cold out. The character of the ice actually changes and it takes longer to cut, even with the monster commercial steamers we use.

Time it takes to remove ice dams.

How long it takes to remove an ice dam.

Easy Heat , Frost King, Wrap On Ice Dam Heat Cable Scam

Friday, January 23rd, 2015


Heat Tape Review

Heat cable reviews, Ice Dam Heat Cable Reviews

Heat cables manufactured by Easy Heat, Frost King and Wrap On are not worth buying. I can’t say it more plainly than that. These cables are typically sold at box stores like Home Depot and Lowes and they should be ashamed to sell them. Why? For starters, they are only warrantied for 1 or 2 years for a very good reason. That is as long as they last (I’ve attached warranties from Wrap On and Frost King below). Homeowners buy bad cables because they are cheap and because they believe what the packaging says. Sadly, we replace thousands of feet of this junk every year. We install more heat cables that any firm in the country and fully 20% of the work we do is the replacement failed ice dam heat cable systems manufactured by Easy Heat, Frost King and Wrap On.

Beyond the short lifespan, heat cables by Easy Heat, Frost King and Wrap On are energy hogs. While they only typically draw 5 watts a foot, they run at 100% while they are plugged in, regardless of the surrounding temperatures. They are what’s called ‘constant wattage’ cable. Our ice dam heat cables are self-regulating. They sense the outdoor temperatures and draw only the electricity they need to do the job. The net result is that cheap cables made by Easy Heat, Frost King and Wrap On chew through electricity. So, somewhat paradoxically, our heavy duty ice dam heat tape runs at over twice the peak wattage of the cheap stuff, it uses far less electricity over a season.

Don’t buy Big Box heat cable.

Heat cable review

Which heat cables are best for ice dams?

Frost King Heat Tape is Terrible

Heat tape made by Frost King, Easy Heat and Wrap On is worthless

Heat tape review, Ice Dam Heat Cable review

Heat tape made by Frost King, Easy Heat and Wrap On is worthless

Ice Dams in Gutters – The Minneapolis Ice Dam Myth

Wednesday, December 31st, 2014

In 2011, Ice Dam Company owner Steve Kuhl wrote a nationally published article about ice dams for the Journal of Light Construction. One of the topics that receieved the most attention was the notion that gutters have nothing to do with ice dams. Here is a deeper look at that assertion.

There is a great deal of confusion and misinformation about the relationship between gutters and ice dams. Many people are under the misconception that gutters cause ice dams or that gutters filled with ice can cause water to back up into homes. Neither is true. Nor do gutters amplify the negative effects of ice dams in terms of the likelihood or severity of leaks into a home.

We know that ice dams occure when:

1. Escaped heat from the inside of the home warms the roof deck.

2. This melts the snow on the roof, resulting in water that runs down to a cold, unheated area of the eave.

3. That water freezes, forming ice. After many cycles that ice piles up to form an ice dam.

Study the illustrations below. These are identical eave designs, one with gutters, the other without. The Area B in the diagrams below is referred to as the ‘cold edge’ of the eave because heat from the interior of the home doesn’t travel far enough to raise the temperatures above 32 degrees in this zone. Fact one: whether or not a home has gutters, the cold edge of the eave will still exist and this is where ice dams form. Fact two: leaks from ice dams occur in Area A, at the top edge of the ice dam where water–with nowhere else to go–is forced up under the roofing material and into the home. Another way to look at it is this. If the home in Figure 2 had bad leaks inside, those leaks would not be eliminated whatsoever if we took a chainsaw and cut off the gutters along the red dashed line (C). Gutters are irrelevant in the formation of ice dams. Gutters being full of debris is likewise irrelevant in terms of ice dams. End of story.


Do gutters cause ice dams?

Ice in gutters fact vs fiction – Steve Kuhl, Ice Dam Expert explains

None of this is to suggest that ice in gutters is a harmless situation. We have seen many gutters damaged or destroyed by ice dams and that is a problem most homeowners would like to avoid. The point here is that all else held equal, if a home is likely to get ice dams the addition or deletion of gutters will be of no consequence to the formation or severity of said ice dams.

Ice dams can cause all sorts of damage. Below is a client of ours who had significant damage to her gutters and aluminum soffits from ice dams. Kuhl’s Contracting, our sister company, is one of the best companies in Minneapolis when it comes to repairing ice dam damage and ice dam prevention. Kuhl’s Contracting also installs more ice dam heat cables than any company in Minnesota. Of course, heat cables and heat tape are not a permanent solution for ice dams in Minnesota. Click here to see a Kuhl Case Study that examines one such approach to ice dam prevention using enhanced home insulation in Minneapolis. This particular ice dam prevention project was in Edina.

Heat cable supplier for ice dams

Ice dam damage to home repaired by kuhls contracting

Minnesota’s Only Licensed Ice Dam Removal Contractor

Sunday, January 5th, 2014

Minnesota's only licensed ice removal contractor

Minnesota’s only licensed ice removal contractor

News flash. We just did a little digging and discovered that we are the only State Licensed ice dam removal remodeling contractor in Minnesota. We’ve been assuming that everyone plays by the same rules up until now. Click here to see for yourself. Search for our major competitors on the Department of Labor’s site. They are nowhere to be found. Wow. Not to be tattletales, but really?

The State of Minnesota requires that anyone who contracts with a homeowner to “construct or improve residential real estate” must be licensed as a residential building contractor or residential remodeler unless they do roofing alone, in which case they must be licensed as a roofer. I guess that is where the gray area exists. Is ice dam removal an improvement to a home? Not really and yet it seems reasonable to call someone who gets up on your roof to perform professional work a roofer and roofers must be licensed according to the Law. This ambiguity apparently creates enough moral wiggle room for some ice dam removal companies to operate without a license. Tisk tisk fellas.

Why should you care if your ice removal contractor is licensed? For starters, a contractor can not obtain a license without possessing a minimum amount of experience and must pass a residential construction and business management test. We are also subject to a criminal background check and must not have any outstanding contracting complaints on record. Licensed contractors are required to prove they are indeed insured for both Worker’s Comp and General Liability. As a homeowner you are protected by the Contractors Recovery Fund if something goes wrong. This fund compensates homeowners who have suffered out-of-pocket losses due to a licensed contractor’s fraudulent, deceptive or dishonest practices or failure of performance. This is not available to those who chose to work with unlicensed contractors.

The bottom line is that hiring a licensed contractor offers many additional protections to the home owner. Here is a helpful article on Angie’s List about the topic.

The only licensed ice removal contractor? Really?

Reuben in the Strib

Tuesday, February 19th, 2013

Another ice dam removal method-round-up by Reuben, this time in the Star Tribune:

Hack Method of Ice Dam Removal Discussed

At the end of the article Reuben give Ice Dam Company a little screen time where Steve talks about the differences between a true ice dam steamer and high-temperature pressure washers.

Ice Dam Removal, Ice Dam Prevention

Removing Ice Dams in Minnesota: We Serve Many Areas in the Minneapolis Metro

The Ice Dam company based out of Hopkins, Minnesota, about 5 miles west of Minneapolis. We've done gutter ice removal, roof ice removal and ice dam removal all over the Twin Cities, on new houses and old ones.

Website Design and Development by A.Fruit Design